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  1. #1
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    max # of mm above headset for spacers

    For an installed fork and steerer, what is the safe maximum above the headset in mm for a carbon and an aluminum steerer? I want to order a frame and then cut the steerer tube and leave the maximum which will give me the opportunity to make it shorter as I choose.

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    Senior Member ClarkinHawaii's Avatar
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    carbon is rumored to be 1.5" of spacers max between the headset and the stem for a 1-1/8" steerer

    Aluminum is basically OK to use the whole uncut length if you want to--but be reasonable. It depends on how much torque and stress is going to be put on it. If you plan on downhill leaps into boulder-strewn gullies, common sense would suggest less spacer stack than leisurely rides around town.

    Sheldon shows a photo of one of his bikes where he has a locking headset spacer immediately above the headset; and then the stem installed several inches above it, with no spacers in between.

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    Spacers above the stem, will allow you to try out the extra handle bar height adjustments ,
    before you commit Hack Saw.

    I use a locking spacer directly above the Integrated Headset, as there is just a jumble of parts
    when I take the stem off without it.

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    usually the fork manufacturer will specify maximum extension above the headset.
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    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    This really depends. I too have heard the 1.5" general rule of thumb. Don't know where that came from, but it's got to be made up. If you are running a superlight fork, then I'd be wary to have a lot of steerer exposed. However, for the really tall guys on smallish frames, you don't really have much of a choice. I know a guy, pro basketball player, who had to have a ton of spacers. He couldn't get a frame his size without going custom, so he just went with the largest size the bike shop had and stacked a ton of spacers on there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
    This really depends. I too have heard the 1.5" general rule of thumb. Don't know where that came from, but it's got to be made up. If you are running a superlight fork, then I'd be wary to have a lot of steerer exposed. However, for the really tall guys on smallish frames, you don't really have much of a choice. I know a guy, pro basketball player, who had to have a ton of spacers. He couldn't get a frame his size without going custom, so he just went with the largest size the bike shop had and stacked a ton of spacers on there.
    Sounds like he should have got a custom bike. Maybe they should be paying pro basketball players a little more.

    Some manufacturers specify a maximum spacer amount. Some do not. Forks with very tight limitations on spacers will tend to be very lightweight racing models.

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    General manufacturers recommendation for carbon steerers:

    1. For a 1" steerer, a maximum of 25 mm of spacers.
    2. For a 1-1/8" steerer most say 35 mm maximum and Easton says 50 mm maximum.

    For aluminum, and particularly Cr-Mo, the sky is the limit for 1-1/8" steerers but, as Clark said, be reasonable.

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